He first appeared in Series 1, losing his debut game to Joe Guy. A computer manager from Isleworth, Middlesex, he was later invited back for Series 6, where he became an octochamp. In his semifinal against Adam Gilinsky he scored 72 points, the highest of the series. He then went on to beat Olivia Lloyd in the grand final, and became the first ever Xicount, or series champion who was also an octochamp.
Unable to play in Championship of Champions II due to a broken leg, he was invited back in 1987 for Championship of Champions III, where he defeated Steve Balment in the quarter-finals before narrowly succumbing to David Trace 58 – 55 in the semis. He also appeared on the special episode to celebrate Countdown's 500th show on 2 February 1987, and competed in the Countdown Masters in 1989.
Francis returned to Countdown in 1996 for the Supreme Championships where, after a first round win over Mike Percik, he was defeated by Allan Saldanha, who equalled the record for the highest score ever achieved in a 9 round game of Countdown.
He returned to the show again in 2013, as one of 41 contestants taking part in the 30th Birthday Championship; of these, he was the one who originally appeared on Countdown the earliest. After some practice on Apterous, he won his first match against Series 22 semi-finalist David Webb by a score of 86 – 68, then beat Series 21 champion Barry Grossman in the first round, before losing to Series 53 semi-finalist Jon O'Neill, despite scoring a personal best of 91.
Francis is also a Scrabble expert who has also contributed to some books about the game, and has appeared on Turnabout and BrainTeaser. In 2017, he appeared on Eggheads with Series 67 champion Paul James.
|#||Date||Type||Contestant 1||Score||Contestant 2||Guest||Lex||Max|
|12||22/11/1982||P||Darryl Francis||?||Joe Guy||Kenneth Williams||??|
|245||21/01/1985||P||Darryl Francis||47 – 46||Steven Tew||Gyles Brandreth||Yvonne Warburton||68|
|246||22/01/1985||P||Andrew Mason||26 – 60||Darryl Francis||Gyles Brandreth||Yvonne Warburton||72|
|247||24/01/1985||P||Diana Mills||18 – 51||Darryl Francis||Gyles Brandreth||Yvonne Warburton||68|
|248||25/01/1985||P||Darryl Francis||52 – 49||Alan Carvell||Gyles Brandreth||Yvonne Warburton||73|
|249||27/01/1985||P||Irene Pollard||21 – 41||Darryl Francis||Gyles Brandreth||Yvonne Warburton||70|
|250||28/01/1985||P||Clive Simkin||16 – 57||Darryl Francis||Gyles Brandreth||Yvonne Warburton||71|
|251||29/01/1985||P||Armand Gilinsky||47 – 69||Darryl Francis||Gyles Brandreth||Yvonne Warburton||71|
|252||30/01/1985||P||Tom Roberts||5 – 59||Darryl Francis||Richard Stilgoe||Yvonne Warburton||70|
|283||14/03/1985||QF||Neil Wilkins||35 – 56||Darryl Francis||Richard Stilgoe||Julia Swannell||68|
|287||20/03/1985||SF||Adam Gilinsky||34 – 72||Darryl Francis||Richard Stilgoe||Julia Swannell||74|
|288||21/03/1985||GF||Olivia Lloyd||37 – 69||Darryl Francis||Gyles Brandreth,|
|596||23/06/1987||CQF||Darryl Francis||46 – 28||Stephen Balment||Sally James||Della Thompson||73|
|600||29/06/1987||CSF||Darryl Francis||55 – 58||David Trace||Sally James||Della Thompson||73|
|M33||13/11/89–17/11/89||Masters 1||Clive Freedman||90 – 73||Darryl Francis||N/A||Freda Thornton||136|
|1883||18/11/1996||eQF||Darryl Francis||60 – 31||Mike Percik||Barry Cryer||Susie Dent||75|
|1886||21/11/1996||eSF||Darryl Francis||24 – 83||Allan Saldanha||Tom O'Connor||Catherine Stokes||85|
|5620||14/01/2013||30BP||Darryl Francis||86 – 68||David Webb||Martin Lewis||Susie Dent||119|
|5638||7/02/2013||30B1||Darryl Francis||82 – 63||Barry Grossman||Kate Adie||Susie Dent||118|
|5641||12/02/2013||30B2||Jon O'Neill||122 – 91||Darryl Francis||Ken Bruce||Susie Dent||130|
Darryl Francis on Wikipedia